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Getting Down to Business (Letters and Technology)

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Keywords: Letter, Writing, Business, Research
Subject(s): Spelling, English/Language Arts, Business, Information Skills, Reading, Writing, Technology, Grammar
Grades 7 through 11
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Lewis & Clark Middle School, Jefferson Cty, MO
Planned By: Karen Distler
Original Author: Karen Distler, Jefferson Cty
Students will use a web site to find an example of a business letter and friendly letter. Print samples of both. Students will compare a given friendly letter to a business letter to find the differences between them. Do this in small groups and report out. Discuss and chart. I show samples on my Aver-vision and allow students to use the whiteboard tools to circle differences. (Inductive reasoning) Some examples include: colon in the salutation versus comma, printed name in addition to signature, inside address and return address, left aligned versus centered date and address.

Use sites such as http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/media/hh/pdfs/samplepapers/businessletter_sample.pdf

will use a web site on how to write a business letter to explain the elements of the opening, middle, and closing paragraphs of the letter. You might use a fill in the blank worksheet or fillable document for students to cut and paste the information they find. For example, in the opening, introduce self and state the reason for writing. In the middle, give information. In the closing, make a request, and give a dated action.

Students will use a teacher-created word document with scrambled letter parts and labels and put them in order on the page with the correct label and correct spacing.
Many students need practice using the mouse via text boxes to accomplish this. This letter serves as another sample for writing their own letter.

Create a shared writing using a wireless keyboard and Avervision to project the writing. Together write a letter of request.

Students will discuss how to find the address of a business. Discuss options such as Find anything, yellow pages on line, if the google search of the company does not work. (Research component)

Introduce vocabulary such as corporate, customer service, consumer, public relations. Students can use the microsoft dictionary or google these terms.

Discuss formal language of a business letter versus informal of a friendly letter.

Discuss appropriate and inappropriate requests.

Students will use the internet to find the address of a company of their choice and write a letter of request to their corporate office or local business.

Students will learn to fold the letter and address the envelope. Use modeling. Teach 5-7 experts who teach their group.

Note: I always send a letter home to parents explaining the project and requesting a stamp. Students must bring a stamp in order to send their letter.

When return letters arrive, students read them to the class and show what they receive. Some companies will not send samples. We then discuss how as consumers, students may or may not want to support a billion dollar company that won't send them anything. Students have received flip flops from our local Old Navy, skateboard stickers, free coupons for chips from Frito-Lay, pens for the entire class, etc.
Students in our building must go to a computer lab to do their writing. There is no guarantee that the lab will be avaialble again, or their computer will be working. Students must have a system to move their work from place to place.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Work with the computer teacher on skills such as centering and aligning; use the science curriculum or social studies curriculum to write a science organization versus a business; write a state to request visitors information and use it to write a persuasive paper on why to visit a particular city.
Write a thank you letter to the business for their reply.

Materials: Flash/USB Drives
Other Items: 30 Flash drives, $25.00 each, total of $750.00